The award is the Kerala government's highest literary honour.

Man posing with a dog Image courtesy: Paul Zacharia/Facebook
news Award Monday, November 02, 2020 - 08:44

Noted Malayalam writer Paul Zacharia has been selected for this year's Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the Kerala government's highest literary honour.

The award, named after Ezhuthachan, the father of the Malayalam language, carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh and a citation. The writer won the 28th Ezhuthachan Award this year. Announcing the award, State Culture Minister AK Balan said that he was chosen for the award for his contributions to Malayalam literature and thought for the last 50 years. 

Zacharia was chosen for his contribution to Malayalam literature during the past five decades, Culture Affairs ministerA K Balan said in a release on Sunday.

A five-member jury, headed by Kerala Sahitya Akademi President Vyshakhan, selected him for the award.

The award will be presented to the writerat a function in the Secretariat here at a later date.

Born in 1945 at Kottayam, Zacharia had worked as a journalist with various national media organisations, a state government release said.

'Salam America', 'Oridath, 'Aarkkariyam', 'Bhaskara patelarum ente jeevithavum' are among his various literary works.

Zacharia won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1979 and the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award in 2004.

Paul Zacharia's works include short stories, essays, travelogoues and Children's books. Although he focused on Malayalam short stories for much of his writing career, he decided to write his first full length novel 'A Secret History of Compassion' in English in 2019. Like many writers, Zacharia too has been a fierce critique of the ruling government's ideology. In 2018, Kerala BJP's State Secretary Advocate B Gopalakrishnan filed a police complaint against Zacharia and also threatened him for calling Modi 'Gujarat's killer'. He warned the writer that if 'he continued to make such statements about the Prime Minister', he would be beaten up. 

Some of Paul Zacharia's best known works include Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum, Oridathu, Oru Nasrani Yuvavum Goulishashthravum, Salaam America, Praise the Lord etc. 

Several notable people took to social media to congratulate he writer. Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor wrote, "Delighted to learn that my friend Paul Zacharia has won Kerala’s highest state literary award, the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram. It’s a richly deserved tribute to his half-century of startlingly original creative writhing & luminous imagination. Congratulations!". 

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